Sunday, September 20, 2020

Here in Edinboro, Pa., when I was a kid, street signs were these four-foot-tall white concrete monoliths with the street names in black lettering. I reckon they thought that was a rustic little touch to Lakeside. At some point, though, this borough had to put up real street signs, probably at the behest of PENNDOT or some other crazy liberal big-government nonsense.

These days though when you're walking around Lakeside, you notice that these posts seem a bit more colorful. It seems the fad now is to paint the things. Here's one I made a picture of yesterday while Mom and I were out for a typical lake walk.

Of course it is dog-themed. I think Edinboro has more dogs than people.

Anyway, here's the scoop on all the post painting. Edinboro is like that, community-minded and crafty. I noticed as we walked yesterday that it's also a good excuse for neighbors to have some new conversations.

This, of course, while maintaining a healthy six-foot distance.

It feels pretty good after six months in maintaining a comfort bubble within Monroe County, New York, to bust out and finally send a little time at my lake. I am right now this morning watching the most screamy children I've ever witnessed play at the playground across the street. Beyond that in my eyeshot is the pretty, spring-fed lake that draws people here, a little choppy this morning. Mom and I are having a nice, albeit socially distanced, visit. I had to have her watch my favorite new whodunnit Knives Out last night, and I think it was a hit. I liked it better the second time around; that is a good movie.

There is even less to do here than usual. Many antique shops are open by appointment only, the campus is sparsely populated, and we are still not as lulled as a Trump fan that sidling up to the bar at the Edinboro Hotel is a great idea. But it sure is pretty. And we have these new decorated posts to look at.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Must Be September

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Fraj Crane, Come On Down!

I made this.

Placebo

The Al Franken Podcast is vital listening this week. Guests: Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize winner for her writing on pandemics and Andy Slavitt, Obama’s head of Medicare and Medicaid, regarding today's state of affairs regarding SARS-CoV-2.

Spoiler: We're fucked.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

The Hospital

When Paddy Chayefsky was thinking about writing a movie about a news television network, he asked his friend, news anchor John Chancellor, if it was possible for an anchorman to go crazy on the air.

"Every day," Chancellor replied.

The resulting film, Network, is one of those films that seems with hindsight to be less farce than prognostication. You know, like Idiocracy. Well, my DOD was reminded by the news of actor Diana Rigg's death of Chayefsky's previous effort, The Hospital. This we watched today in our ongoing Pandemic Theater series. It's a bit more awkward a film and did receive mixed reviews in 1971, but it did win the Oscar for best original screenplay.

As Roger Ebert pointed out the film's most confounding aspect is that it turns on a dime from farce to whodunnit. But watching this does make it difficult to argue with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin that Chayefsky was "the twentieth century's most important screenwriter." The studio was not altogether happy with the film's yen for algebraic dialogue, but it's the lines that compelled me as a viewer.

Well. That and the oddball premise that someone is lurking around a hospital murdering doctors and nurses.

So, good pick. Once again, it was better than Birdman.

One should note: It's also fun to watch for seeing who is in this little film, starting with Nancy Marchand, who played mother of both Tony Soprano and Frasier Crane. This is not the first time Marchand had appeared in a Chayefsky project, she also played Clara in Marty. Other faces that struck me: Katherine Helmond, Stockard Channing (an uncredited brief appearance), and Frances Sternhagen (another Cheers connection, she played Cliff Claven's mother). Apparently Christopher Guest is also somewhere in this movie as well.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Fairytale

Bonnie Pointer: Do you all like country music?

Audience: :: stares at Bonnie Pointer like she has just grown a second head ::

19 Years

19 years since I and several thousand of my closest friends walked across a bridge from downtown Washington D.C. into Arlington, Va. and ended up seeking a beer and comfort with my Dear Old Dad—who was in Crystal City and therefore felt the walls shake in the conference room he was in—in the most frazzled feeling neighborhood bar I have ever experienced.

I've never been one to agree with those who believe these attacks were actually an inside job. I think hubris and stupid on the parts of Dubya and Cheney and their people was what allowed those 19 shits to commandeer and weaponize those planes. Leadership's inability to "connect the dots" was cited many times to explain it away, as was a "lack of imagination." I think Dubya and his crew believed that the Republican party had vanquished The Clinton and therefore did not have to listen to their boogey-boogey talk about some swarthy spectre plotting a devastating attack from some cave bunker.

One would think that the events of 19 years ago would have generally adjusted our leaders' outlook toward the proactive squint, that it would cause an incoming administration to heed and respect the dire warnings of the outgoing, regardless of politics, regardless of that floating feeling of victory and the rush to plant one's ass behind the Resolute desk.

One would think.

The author who's had it most right this year is Steve Benen in The Impostors: How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politics. Read that, and you will truly understand the landscape on which we traverse today.

Many were lost at once that day, as many are lost in slow motion through the marathon attack we face now. May better times be near.